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Arena Football League ceases operations, files for bankruptcy

The Arena Football League has announced that it has filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy and is fully ceasing operations immediately.

The news comes just a month after its six franchises closed local business operations as the indoor league considered if it could continue. But it is now folding after more than three decades in existence.

“We’re all disappointed that we couldn’t find a way forward and we wanted to thank our fans, our players, coaches, everyone who loved the Arena Football League,” AFL commissioner Randall Boe said in a statement. “We all love the game and tried very hard to make it successful, but we simply weren’t able to raise the capital necessary to grow the League, resolve the substantial legacy liabilities and make it financially viable.”

At the heart of the league’s financial problems was a multi-million dollar lawsuit filed against the AFL by insurance company National Union over alleged unpaid premiums and payment for a previous settlement over a workers’ compensation policy.

The AFL, which was founded in 1987, has long had financial problems, though, contracting from 14 teams in 2014 to just four in 2018 before expanding to six this year. Its franchises were located in Philadelphia, Washington, Baltimore, Atlantic City, Columbus and Albany.

The collapse of the AFL follows the demise of the outdoor Alliance of American Football after just eight weeks earlier this year. The rebooted XFL launches in February 2020.